Michelle Henry

Michelle S. Henry  

Partner

Executive Summary

Michelle Henry is a partner in the Labour and Employment Group in our Toronto office. She advises employers on various employment-related matters, such as workplace restructuring, workplace investigations, employment contracts, employee terminations, discipline, workers' compensation, occupational health and safety matters, workplace violence, employment standards and human rights.  Michelle represents employers in employment-related litigation, including wrongful dismissals, constructive dismissals, and injunctions proceedings.

Michelle's practice also encompasses labour relations. She advises and acts on behalf of employers in collective bargaining (including at negotiations, mediation and conciliation), interest arbitrations, collective agreement interpretation, grievance arbitrations, strikes and lockouts, and injunction proceedings during strikes.  Michelle also advises and acts on behalf of employers in matters before the Ontario Labour Relations Board and Canada Industrial Relations Board.

Furthermore, Michelle has vast experience in representing companies in human rights litigation before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the federal and provincial Tribunals, both in respect of allegations relating to discrimination in employment and the provision of services. Michelle is frequently hired to conduct independent investigations into allegations of harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and other alleged misconduct.

From April 2012 to September 2013, Michelle was Corporate Counsel for Federal Express Canada, where she worked extensively in the area of federal employment related legislation. In October 2013, she resumed her labour and employment practice at BLG.

Representative Work

Labour and Employment Law

  • Advise clients on various employment-related matters, including workplace restructuring, employment contracts, employee terminations, discipline, workers’ compensation, occupational health and safety matters, and employment standards. 
  • Represent clients in employment-related litigation, including wrongful and constructive dismissal actions, unjust dismissal complaints, mediations, unpaid compensation claims, injunctions pertaining to restrictive covenants, and proceedings before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. 
  • Advise employers and human resources teams on the development and implementation of workplace policies and procedures and/or changes to existing policies; assist client teams in communicating and launching employment related policies; conduct management workshops and assist employers with employee training on various employment-related issues and policies.
  • Advise and assist clients in identifying and managing labour and employment-related risks associated with business decisions and/or changing business needs.  Work with clients in assessing and determining long term goals and strategies and their impact on labour and employment issues.
  • Advise and act on behalf of employers in collective bargaining (including at negotiations, mediation and conciliation), interest arbitrations, collective agreement interpretation, grievance arbitrations, strikes and lockouts, and injunction proceedings during strikes.
  • Advise and act on behalf of employers in matters before the Ontario Labour Relations Board and Canada Industrial Relations Board, including union campaigns, union certification applications, unfair labour practice applications, sale of a business and/or related employer applications, appeal of inspectors’ orders, and unlawful reprisals applications.
  • Advise and act on behalf of clients in complaints to the Ministry of Labour, including harassment complaints, investigations and appeals of Inspector’s orders.
  • Advise employers on the interpretation, application and/or implications of new legislation or amendments to existing legislation.

Human Rights Law

  • Represent companies in human rights litigation before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the federal and provincial Tribunals both in respect of allegations relating to discrimination in employment and the provision of services. 
  • Conduct and manage workplace investigations on behalf of clients into allegations of harassment and workplace discrimination.

Education Law

  • Advise and act on behalf of school boards and independent schools in various matters, including labour matters, development of policies and protocols with respect to court actions and applications, suspension and expulsion hearings, privacy law matters, and issues pertaining to human rights.

Commercial Transactions

  • Provide advice in M&A transactions, including reviewing purchase and sale agreements, negotiating changes to agreements, and coordinating due diligence for labour, employment, pension and benefits related matters.

Workplace Investigations

  • Conduct independent investigations into allegations of harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and other alleged misconduct both in the workplace and/or in the provision of services.

Publications & Presentations

Michelle is a frequent speaker at internal client and professional seminars, and has authored numerous articles on various labour, employment and education topics, of which the most recent are:

Publications

Presentations

  • Interviewed, "How to address – and prevent – sexual harassment in your workplace," The Globe and Mail, June 2, 2017.
  • Co-Chair, 2017 Human Rights and Accommodation Conference, Lancaster House, Toronto, April 5-6, 2017.
  • Instructor, Certificate in Human Resources Law for HR Professionals, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Programme, March 23, 2017.
  • Instructor, Certificate in Clinical Risk, Negligence and Claims Management in Health Care, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Programme, January 31 and February 3, 2017.
  • Co-Speaker, "Federally Regulated Employers Update," BLG's Annual Labour and Employment Symposium, Toronto, November 17, 2016.
  • Interviewed, "The Black Business Law Clinic is up and running," Canadian Lawyer Magazine, November 14, 2016.
  • Speaker, "Combatting Workplace Violence and Harassment: New OHSA Requirements, Investigations, and Work Refusals," Health and Safety Conference, Lancaster House, October 19, 2016.
  • Speaker, "Accommodating Mental Health Issues," 17th Annual Employment Law Summit, Law Society of Upper Canada, October 18, 2016.
  • Interviewed, "African Canadian Lawyers Give Back to their Community; Launches Black Business Law Clinic," Pride News, October 5, 2016.
  • Co-Speaker, "Navigating Disability, Management and Accommodation," BLG's Labour and Employment Breakfast Seminar, Toronto, May 6, 2016.
  • Instructor, Certificate in Clinical Risk, Negligence and Claims Management in Health Care, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Programme, March 1, 2016.
  • Instructor, Certificate in Human Resources Law for HR Professionals, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Programme, March 1, 2016.
  • Co-Speaker, "AODA Has Not Gone Away," BLG's Annual Labour and Employment Symposium, Toronto, November 19, 2015.
  • Co-Speaker, "Managing the Mentally Ill Employee," BLG's Annual Labour and Employment Symposium, Toronto, November 20, 2014.
  • Co-Speaker, "What's New for Federally Regulated Employers," BLG's Labour and Employment Breakfast Seminar, Toronto, May 8, 2014.
  • Co-Speaker, "Workplace Investigations," BLG's Labour and Employment Breakfast Seminar, Toronto, April 30, 2014.
  • Interviewed, "Human Rights and Mental Health Issues in the Workplace", CBC Ottawa Morning, September 22, 2014.

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Recognized in the 2018 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Workplace Human Rights).
  • Recipient of the 2017 Lexpert® Zenith Awards Celebrating Women in Law in recognition of her exceptional leadership.
  • Recipient of the 2017 Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Award presented by the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law for demonstration of the highest standards of professional integrity, excellence and leadership, and significant contribution to the legal profession and community through public interest work, pro bono activities and community service.
  • Nominee in the Changemakers category in the Canadian Lawyer's 2017 The Top 25 Most Influential.
  • Recognized in the 2015 edition of the Legal 500 Canada (Labour & Employment).